When Louise Adams's water broke at 22 weeks, she and her husband were told that their baby only had a five percent chance of survival.
Those odds weren't acceptable to this family from England, so they began researching what options they had to keep their unborn baby alive. They came across success stories from other countries where moms were able to keep their babies healthy in the womb by drinking extra gallons of water each day.
"The more the mother drinks the more the baby drinks and urinates," Louise told The Daily Mail. "As excretion of urine by the unborn baby is the major source of amniotic fluid production in the second half of pregnancy, it made sense that increasing my fluid intake could make a difference."
Doctors originally told the parents that because Louise's water broke before the 24-week mark, there wasn't much they could do to save the baby. "All they could do is monitor me in hospital waiting for the inevitable miscarriage, which they said would happen in days," she said. "But I could feel Joseph kicking. I couldn't just sit around doing nothing to save him."
After she was released from the hospital six days later, Louise began drinking more than three gallons of water a day in an attempt to constantly replenish his lost amniotic fluid. She kept this up for 13 weeks and her growing baby continued to beat the odds.
"I shut myself off from the world. It wasn't easy but I drank around seven pints a day. I also consumed cranberry juice and raw cloves of garlic after reading they could ward off infection, common when the waters break early," she said. "Doctors and midwives were skeptical and gave me no hope. They told me there was little research and it was unlikely to make any difference. But I had nothing to lose."
However, Louise made it to eight months before giving birth to Joseph via C-section and the healthy baby weighed five pounds, 10 ounces. "Getting past 24 weeks was the first hurdle as I knew at that point he at least had some chance of survival if born then. Doctors finally gave me steroids to mature Joseph's lungs and antibiotics to prevent infection," she said. "When we heard him crying his eyes out, we were overjoyed. He was absolutely perfect and did so well, he came home after just a week."